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Synnöve - s/t

Hailing from Australia comes a brand new band called Synnöve.  Comprised of four members, one of which is an ex-Virgin Black member, the band unleashes a 29 minute EP full of brutal metal mixing atmospheric black, death, doom, and goth.  For those of you who perked up upon hearing the Virgin Black name, yes, there are some obvious Virgin Black influences here.  The biggest of which is when the music slows at the 4:30 mark of the song "Beyond the Gaze of Black Doves".  A lone piano plays softly as it sounds like it's being played from a deep dungeon every so gently, before the huge Virgin Black-styled wall of guitars comes tearing forth.  However, the majority of this disc is much heavier, most times faster, and leaning much heavier on extreme black and death-ish vocals than Virgin Black does.  Synnöve spends most of their time around mid-paced styled metal with crushing guitars and extreme vocals mixed with male and female clean vocals.  So, for those of you who kinda dig Virgin Black, but wish they'd go for a heavier, more extreme style, this might be just what you're looking for.  They have the painted faces, the dark artwork, the heavy reliance on keyboards, and the long, long songs...most in the 6 to 8 minute range.

As for other influences, Soundmass cites bands like Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Cradle of Filth, Emperor, Bathory, Arcturus, Lengsel, and Saviour Machine.  That's quite a broad range, and while I'd definitely agree with most of those comparisons at times, I'd say a couple of them are a huge stretch....like the Saviour Machine and Lengsel comparisons.  Regardless, I'm really impressed by this band and I can't wait to see how they progress on future albums.  The band brings the complete package with high quality music, solid vocals, above average production, well-written, spiritually-centered lyrics, and superb packaging.  They even include the history of Synnöve, who was the daughter of a 10th century Irish king who fled her home to avoid an arranged marriage with an invading pagan king, and who eventually died on an island off the Norwegian coast.  There was eventually a church built in her honor near the place where she died.

Despite some disappointments in recent years, this is proof that metal from Australia can still be worth your time.

Rating: 86/100

Review: Matt Morrow

Label: Soundmass

Total Songs: 5

Total Time: 28:49

Tracklisting: 1. Away With the Tide, 2. The Pledge, 3. As the Snow Falls, 4. Beyond the Gaze of Black Doves, 5. The Long Kiss Goodbye.

Best Songs: Tracks 4 & 5.

Band Lineup: Brad - Vocals/Guitar, Jim - Vocals/Keyboards, Stephanie - Vocals/Bass, Steve - Drums.

Band Website: http://www.synnove-online.com